On a Thursday evening, this popular neighbourhood bistro, with its retro prints and mirrors, was thrumming with Chiswick’s spruce and moneyed troisième âge and a sprinkling of younger folk. It’s the sort of place where a man might dine alone, linen napkin tucked into his shirt.
The menu is classically French (snails, soufflé, duck à l’orange) but with Italian elements (tortellini, ravioli, risotto) and appealing British ingredients (Maldon oysters, Suffolk asparagus, dover sole). The largely French wine list is a lovingly assembled affair. Things began well – excellent bread and anchovy butter, a smooth courgette velouté amuse-bouche, the comforting sight of waiters plating up cheese – but the momentum was quickly lost.
A long delay in taking our order was followed by a stomach-rumbling wait for our mains, which we put down to the champagne-themed dinner for 30 taking place alongside us. Lamb with borlotti beans was more gastropub than fine dining – it didn’t merit its hefty (£23) price tag. A ‘rare’ rump steak (part of an admirable £11.95 steak frites deal that included a glass of wine) was tough and underdone, the chips lacklustre. Tarte tatin featuring plump, jammy-sweet apples was let down by soggy pastry. A blip? We hope so.